New Approach Pitched for Citrus Park Development Affecting Upper Tampa Bay Trail

Alliance Residential, a developer that sought to change the alignment of the UTB Trail near the intersection of Gunn Highway and Ehrlich Road last August for a proposed apartment complex, will pitch a new approach at the Aug. 8 WCA Board meeting.

That new approach, a developer’s representative informed WOW, will not require the realignment of the UTB Trail, popular with Westchase bikers, runners and walkers.

The WCA Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Westchase Community Association (WCA) office building on Parley Drive in West Park Village. Alliance Residential is subsequently expected to seek approval for the new approach from Hillsborough County sometime before the end of the year. [Note: The original article posted here stated that the application would occur by late August but the developer’s representative called WOW and clarified that it could be anytime between late August and year’s end. The article has been changed to reflect that clarification.]

Last summer the county put the kibosh on Alliance Residential’s proposed realignment of the trail. As then proposed, the project would have taken the trail out of its current shaded and wooded location and relocated it much closer to Gunn Highway. The old proposal also ran the apartment complex’s access road across the trail. The project caused an outcry of opposition from trail users, who organized to defeat it.

Alliance Residential is now seeking to develop four parcels through which the UTB Trail runs with a proposal that would leave the current trail location unchanged but would install a 10-foot high wooden bridge to permit traffic to and from the complex to pass beneath the trail. A one-page summary of the project, now called Broadstone Rocky Creek, states the plan would leave the existing trail tree canopy in place. The trail through the affected parcels runs parallel to Gunn Highway just north of the entrances to the Westfield Citrus Park Mall and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s District 3 office. It sits just south of Ballyhoo Grill. The current proposal reduces the complex’s originally proposed 300 apartments to 260. (Currently the 20-acre area is zoned for 12 homes per acre.) The plan also calls for the county to waive its five-foot property boundary setback so that the units can be placed further from the trail.

The project description states the developer will construct a temporary trail for use while the wooden bridge is constructed. Click here to view the plan.

The Upper Tampa Bay Trail, which has trailheads on Wilsky Boulevard near Linebaugh and off Waters Avenue, passes through largely wooded areas of Northwest Hillsborough County.

The project description adds, “If Alliance Residential chooses to not build on this property, the current owners of this property may not share the developer’s commitment to not cross the trail and preserve the natural environment of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail.”

The project description concludes, “Alliance Residential’s goal is to be good neighbors in the community and build on their legacy in Citrus Park that was started by the nearby Broadstone Citrus Village. We want to continue to hear from the community on any suggestions you have to make a project that reflects the community and promotes the existing natural beauty of the Upper Tampa Bay Trail.”

The developer’s contact is Carlos Ramos of Ballard Partners, a public relations and lobbying firm. Ramos can be reached at carlos@ballardpartners.com.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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